Weekend Reads: Murder in July

I have read every book in this series now.  The detective is a free man of color in 1830s New Orleans; he’s trained as a physician, but works as a musician because no one will hire him.  The Benjamin January series is outstanding.

Murder in July (Benjamin January #15)Murder in July by Barbara Hambly

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The newest Benjamin January novel sees us looking at yet another New Orleans murder with ties to Benjamin’s past in Paris — this time during the July 1830 revolution.

Benjamin is asked to look into the disappearance of an Englishman who has run off with stock certificates and hard currency … after buying up a great deal of useless, swampy land. When the name in the man’s personal effects is that of someone January knew in Paris, we start to see the backstory of an aristocratic family and its gay son whose proclivities they were trying to hide.

As usual, the story is impeccably researched and tightly constructed. I did not see the twist coming (which, as regular readers of my reviews know, is hard to do because I read so many mysteries), and that made it an extra pleasure.

I highly recommend this series to any admirer of historical mysteries. While each tale builds a bit on the one before, they can be read as stand-alones without losing your sense of the story.

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